LA County Delays Vote on $15 Minimum Wage

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – Despite pleas from the mayor, Los Angeles County supervisors Tuesday postponed a vote on raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, to assess its impact on nonprofits and small businesses.
     At the Tuesday morning meeting, Mayor Eric Garcetti urged Board of Supervisors to alleviate poverty by approving the wage increase.
     The mayor’s pitch came after the board postponed for four weeks a recommendation to create a minimum-wage law. If approved by the board, the ordinance would increase the minimum wage from $9 to $15 per hour by 2020.
     Two minimum wage items were on the agenda.
     Supervisor Sheila Kuehl’s recommendation would allow the county to create a minimum-wage ordinance for the board’s review, mirroring the city increase Mayor Garcetti signed into law this month.
     Supervisor Hilda Solis and Don Knabe have recommended that the county come up with a plan to use its resources to help small businesses in unincorporated areas as they adapt to annual wage increases.
     Los Angeles is the second largest city in the United States. With almost 10 million people, Los Angeles County has a larger population than nearly 40 states.
     At the long-awaited meeting, Garcetti outlined the economic benefits of raising the minimum wage, saying the costs of poverty place a heavy burden on governments and taxpayers.
     Though opponents claim the wage hike could hurt businesses and kill jobs, Garcetti said that the economic benefits include putting more money into the hands of people who will spend their income rather than save it.
     Garcetti disagreed with the idea that the county would be entering into “uncharted territory” because people formerly earned a living wage for their work.
     “I encourage you to move forward and lift more than 1 million people out of poverty,” Garcetti said.
     Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation representatives Christine Cooper and David Flaks presented less encouraging findings .
     Their agency’s report concluded that the county would face rising prices, slow employment growth and that a wage hike would have “little impact, if any” on poverty.
     The report also concluded that an increase would diminish jobs at the “bottom of the skills ladder.”
     Board of Supervisors Mayor Michael Antonovich continued the items to July 21, saying the board needs more information to consider the impact on nonprofits and small businesses.
     “Those were some questions that were raised that were not included in the study,” Antonovich said.
     If approved, the wage increase would apply to all nonprofits and businesses in unincorporated areas of the county, beginning with an increase to $10.50 per hour next year.
     Employers with more than 26 employees will have two years to prepare for the annual increases, with the first rollout scheduled for July 1, 2017.

%d bloggers like this: